Archive

Archive for the ‘user interface’ Category

Pet peeve – useless error messages

November 3, 2014 Leave a comment

Here’s one from Github:

Screenshot 2014-11-02 14.28.51

Clearly I have entered a URL in the text field. I assume what Github is trying to say is that this doesn’t adhere to whatever client side validation logic they’re using. Since I’m relatively tech savvy I can assume that maybe they want the http:// prefix. Sure enough that fixes the problem, but why could the error message not tell me that? Or even better, why not assume that if I don’t specify the scheme, it should use http or https?

In the words of Steve Krug, “Don’t make me think.”

Advertisements

“Change aversion” and Amazon’s solution to the renaming problem

September 24, 2014 Leave a comment

If you’re like many people, you hate it when the user interface of a site changes. You’re accustomed to one thing when suddenly it switches.

Some people in the tech industry shrug off users’ complaints about this as “change aversion”. Christina Wodtke’s article,”User’s don’t hate change. They hate you“, refutes this belief and explains why users are justified in their frustration. Here’s a choice quote:

Users don’t hate change. Users hate change that doesn’t make their life better, but makes them have to relearn everything they knew.

I urge you to read the rest of the article as well; it lays out a compelling case for restraint on the part of developers, and sets a high bar for the benefit that a change should bring.

Still, sites will keep changing and some do a better job than others at informing you. Unlike the gratuitous tours and full screen popups that the article calls out, I found Amazon’s solution tasteful. They renamed a few items in their navigation bar, but rather than making the change wholesale, they left behind the old labels underneath the new ones. This allows you to find what you’re looking for more easily. Until you become accustomed to the new label and that one changes too.  Ahh, software.